You only get points for finishing is something that I tell my athletes. When I tell them this, it is in the context of wrestling, and I say it most when they are asking me if they should finish their attacks during their drills. Everybody wants to win, but you need to prepare properly in order to do that. In the end finishing is what wins wrestling matches. You don’t get any style points for a good set up or a good attack. You are only awarded points for execution and that means finishing. It applies to more than wrestling.
How many gold medals are given out for starting a race? The answer is none. Gold medals are given out to those who not only finish, but also finish first. If you even want to be in contention, then you have to finish. Think about it, how many college degrees are awarded for just enrolling in classes? How many times does a customer buy by you only starting your sales pitch? How many pancakes are enjoyed after the batter is merely mixed without being cooked? The answer again is none.
I am guilty of starting things and not finishing. Unfortunately I do it more than I would like to. It’s challenging to finish things. It takes effort and requires hard work. It may be painful, but all of the benefits come after the finish. So next time you start that diet or start reading a new book, work hard to finish it because you only get points for finishing.
There should be reciprocal expectations for coaches and athletes. Let me explain myself a little bit. I have seen examples in my career where a coach expects their athlete to be the very best at what they do. They want them to give their all in practice, live a healthy clean lifestyle, as well as do whatever else is necessary to let them stay eligible to compete, all while winning at the most competitive matches. The coach wants their athlete to continually be learning, updating, and improving their skills. However, sometimes the coach does not expect the same thing from themselves. Sometimes the coach takes for granted their position of authority and thinks that just because that they are in charge that they are doing things the best way, which is not always the case.
Let me illustrate an example here. Let’s say that a coach wants his wrestler to be the best in the state. Well wouldn’t it be fair to say that the coach should also strive to be the best in the state? If that is not the case the athlete can sense it. Athletes are not dumb, and they can sense when a coach is not happy with them. That feeling can be such a drain for both parties. A motivated athlete will run through a brick wall especially for a motivated coach. If the coach is doing their absolute best, an athlete can tell. If a coach has the same practice structure day in and day out with putting little thought into what they want their athletes to get out of it, perhaps it is time for the coach to evaluate their methods and tactics or perhaps evaluate their career choice.
I suppose my rant can be summarized this way: If you are a coach, and you want your athletes to be the best in the city, state, nation, or world, then you should elevate your game so that you are the best coach as well at that level. Challenge the status quo.
A week ago I wrestled the last wrestling match of my career. It was a surreal experience for me, and I’m grateful that I was able to end my career with a win. Even though it has only been a week, my life is much more different than I ever could have imagined. I see the real world staring at me with a challenge. I have a wife and two young girls to care for, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I have been so focused on wrestling for so long that I never put much thought into what life would be like afterwards.
I remember having a conversation with a friend years ago about how his wrestling career ended. He was a nationally ranked collegiate wrestler, and he was looking to punch his ticket to get to the NCAA championships. He had to place top three at the big 12 wrestling championships in order to qualify for the tournament. He had beaten the other top competitors at his weight class, and he was in a great position to qualify for the championships. However, he had a couple of bad matches, and it was the end of his wrestling career. He told me how it later inspired him to excel in his businesses that he went on to create. Despite the success he experienced in the business world, he described the pain that was still very real of not achieving his wrestling goals.
At the time that he told me the story I had a hard time relating. I was still competing. Sure I had lost big tournaments and won some big tournaments. I even had a world medal and was part of a world championship team. I still hadn’t reached my goal of wrestling in the Olympics, but I was still on the path to be able to accomplish that. I didn’t have the feeling that he was describing. Time has passed, an I’ve come up short on what I wanted to accomplish in the great sport of wrestling. Now I know what he means.
I’m not sad, and I’m not depressed. I gave it my best effort. However, I do feel a void. I feel an emptiness that is screaming to be filled, with what I have yet to find the answer. The only sense that I have is that the void needs to be filled. I need to be challenged, I need to compete, and I need to win. I need to win again. I’m looking forward to deciding what field that will be in.